Having enjoyed over ten years as a social housing professional, I have maintained a serious interest in the academic study of race as well as an active role in issues pertaining to race. In 2001, I completed my undergraduate degree in Combined Studies at the University of Manchester. This gave me my first academic experience of an interdisciplinary approach to race through anthropology, sociology, literature and history. I completed my dissertation on the lack of visibility of black women in the Hollywood film industry.
In 2010, I became part of Black Feminists, a London-based feminist collective which campaigns around issues affecting black women whilst raising the profile of intersectional issues. As part of this collective, I have engaged in public speaking, conference facilitation, workshop facilitation and online campaigning.
I returned to academia in 2011, and completed an MA in the History of Race in the Americas at the University of Warwick. My dissertation focused on the establishment of the University of the West Indies in 1945, and I presented a paper on this subject at the Society for Caribbean Studies conference at the University of Warwick. My experiences of completing the MA and training as a filmmaker led directly to my decision to start the Race in the Americas Group with James Heath.
I believe that film is a key method of disseminating the discussion of race in the Americas, not only throughout the academic community but also in non-academic settings.
Follow me on Twitter: @ATripleA79.
James O. Heath
Since completing my PGCE (PCET) in October 2003, I have spent ten years teaching in Further and Higher Education institutions in the UK. These include Kings College London, where I lectured in Twentieth Century History and International Relations in the English Language Centre, and also the University of Warwick, where I served as Lecturer and Module Convenor on the Politics of Protest course in the History Department, and also tutored undergraduates studying on the Politics of the USA course in the Politics and International Studies Department.
I received no funding whatsoever for my MA or PhD studies, and I completed both while working full-time. I was awarded a PhD in Politics and International Studies by the University of Warwick in January 2016 and I have presented my research at various conferences in the UK and the USA. My first article, ‘A Colored Man with the Name of Marshall: South Carolina and the Confirmation of the Supreme Court’s First African American Justice’, was published in The South Carolina Historical Magazine in July 2015. In my book, To Face Down Dixie, I have made the case that South Carolina has played the most important, and overlooked, role in the development of Supreme Court nomination hearings into political, and confrontational, public events. You can read more about that here.
My RITA collaboration with Adunni Adams has resulted from a shared determination to pursue constructive discussions on the theme of race in the Americas, particularly as it relates to those who have been excluded from, or discouraged by, the elitism of the academic system.
You are welcome to read my thoughts on Twitter (@jamesowenheath).